Kansas department of corrections sex offenders
She was sentenced to nearly six years in prison and a lifetime on the sex offender registry. In June , Zeferjohn was charged as an adult with 10 felonies: aggravated human trafficking; conspiracy to commit rape; conspiracy to commit aggravated criminal sodomy; indecent solicitation of a child; electronic solicitation of a child; aggravated intimidation and criminal threat. The charges stem from when Zeferjohn recruited a year-old girl she met while in living in a foster home, court documents show. Hope introduced Long to the girl through Facebook, where Long was using a false identity.
Kansas sex offender jailed for alleged human trafficking
Long offered to let the girl live with them in exchange for sex, and threatened to kill her if she told police, court records say. In another instance, Zeferjohn recruited a year-old girl by offering her drugs, which Long then supplied, requiring both girls to have sex with him as payment, court documents show. Later, Zeferjohn reached out to the girl and connected her back to Long, who was out of jail. In April , Long was sentenced to 35 years in prison after pleading guilty to attempted aggravated human trafficking, indecent solicitation of a child, electronic solicitation of a child and four counts of sexual exploitation of a child.
Hope Zeferjohn met Anthony 'Angel' Long when she was Long exploited Zeferjohn for sex and forced her to recruit other girls into his prostitution enterprise. That sort of role is not uncommon, said Yazmin Vafa , co-founder and executive director of Rights4Girls , a human rights group that focuses on gender-based violence. She ultimately pleaded guilty to one charge of aggravated human trafficking. That helped reduce her sentence from a possible 15 years in prison to nearly six years, Kagay said.
Kansas Joins Nationwide Crackdown on Sex Offenders
Zeferjohn also was sentenced to prison time because one of the victims asked that she be incarcerated, Kagay said. As part of her sentence, Zeferjohn will spend a lifetime on the registry. Since , federal and some state laws have specified that anyone under 18 who performs a commercial sex act is considered a victim of sex trafficking. The girls were runaways from the Kansas Department for Children and Families or the juvenile justice system, wound up under the control of sex traffickers, then were charged as criminals when they were actually victims, she said.
At some point during their progression through the foster care and criminal systems, social workers and law enforcement officers turned on them, they said, speaking on the condition that they would not be identified. A review of Shawnee County District Attorney data ranging from to March shows that Zeferjohn was the only person prosecuted and convicted for trafficking in that county.
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The Kansas Sentencing Commission says human trafficking charges, whether for men or women, whether minors or adults, are in the single digits and are often pleaded down to other crimes. Countryman-Roswurm said girls like Zeferjohn struggle in the legal system because of stereotypes about victims of sex crimes. Lawyers, family members or others convince survivors to plead guilty to lesser charges to avoid the risk of prison time if their cases do go to trial, Countryman-Roswurm said. In May , then-Gov. But things quickly returned to the way they always had been at the Zeferjohn home, and within six months the children were back in foster care, Kelly said.
Kutz would not comment, citing a federal privacy law. Brownback resigned in to take a job in the Trump administration, serving as ambassador for religious freedom. He declined comment for this story.
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His successor, former Gov. Colyer also declined to comment. By the time Hope Zeferjohn was 16, she was living in an out-of-home placement in Salina under the Department of Corrections and being trafficked for sex by Anthony Angel Long. She was a victim.
Related legal cases
This is just a matter of human justice. Efforts to change state laws are also underway at the Kansas Legislature. Last year, two bills were introduced that call for setting aside convictions and records in hopes of helping young survivors of the sex trade. The bills got stuck in committee, said Benet Magnuson of Kansas Appleseed, a nonprofit social justice group, but advocates hope to bring them up again this year.
Kelly said she is ready to work with the Legislature to "revise our approach to incarceration so that we can be smarter about who we send to prison and for how long.
The earliest Zeferjohn could get out of prison is Aug. She says she feels the need to apologize for what Long did to all the families affected, including hers. She hopes speaking up and showing strength will help other victims in similar situations. When she gets out of prison, Zeferjohn said, she wants to try to get her son back and she wants to open her own restaurant, a bakery, that she would dedicate to her mom and dad.
It feels great that I can say that. Sherman Smith is a reporter for the Topeka Capital-Journal. He's on Twitter at geoffhing. The news that about 70 children are missing from the Kansas foster care system is the latest in a string of concerns for lawmakers and child welfare advocates.
Sex Offender Projects
Francis, the contractor for the rest of the state, has had four kids overnight, according to the latest update from the state child welfare agency. This story was updated to include comments from the Kansas Department for Children and Families. Share Tweet Email. Hope Zeferjohn, a Topeka native, became a victim of the commercial sex trade while in state custody, ran away, and was sent to prison for aggravated human trafficking.
Kansas Department for Children and Families. And for the Kansas Department of Corrections, it means being accountable for thousands more offenders, requiring increased staff and prison space. While the legislature has yet to allocate money for those projects, earlier this session, lawmakers did approve funding to meet the GPS monitoring requirement just signed into law.
Now, second time child sex offenders will be required to wear a GPS tracking device once they've served their prison time. With Congress considering a nationwide database, similar to the KBI offender registry, and with numerous states passing Jessica's Law and similar measures, Hecht says things are headed in the right direction. While the law does direct stricter penalties to sex offenders, individual judges may use their own discretion to increase or decrease sentences.
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